Julia Gabriel Preschool, Totally Over-Rated

Julia Gabriel Preschool, Totally Over-Rated!

Julia Gabriel Preschool, Totally Over-Rated!

When it comes to the subject of preschools, i have always felt that there was no need to send Charles for school before the age 5. Its a personal choice and every parent would feel differently about this. I guess in Singapore, most parents would be eager to register and enroll their little ones into preschools at 18 months in hopes of giving them an early head start into the very competitive education system. Of course, im sure, there are parents who send their little tots to preschool at a young age because they have work commitments and school would seem like a logical arrangement since they will be looked after by professionals and learn at the same time. Personally, i find that preschool (half or full day) is a total waste of time and money for any toddler below the age of 3. The only thing i can think of that might make me consider sending a toddler that young to school is for socializing purposes. But lucky for me, i have close friends who have kids the same age Charles is (its almost as if we planned it together HAHA) and so, Charles can socialize at play dates my friends and i would organize. Sooooooo i guess preschool for socializing is kinda redundant in my case? I do, however, encourage some once a week gym or language classes (will explain why in another post)! 😀

Firstly, lets look at the cost of Julia Gabriel for a term (11 weeks). This is only the cost for their Bilingual Play Club (18 months – 3 years old). Classes are held once a week, for 2 hours.

1 term = 11 weeks

1 lesson/week = 11 lessons

1 lesson = 2 hours

price = $660 (excluding GST and taxes)

* trial class at $64.20 (GST included)

My Julia Gabriel Trial Class Experience

When i was at the front desk finding out information on how their classes work, i spoke to a young lady and she recommended the Bilingual Play Club as i was actually interested to sign him up for some mandarin classes since no one in my house really speaks to him in mandarin much (he is half chinese afterall and i dont want him to be one of those chinese that cant speak chinese LOL). Below will be a little part of our converstaion at front desk.

Me: How many students in a class?

JG Lady: 18

Me: How many teachers?

JG Lady: 4

Me: Oh, so its 1 teacher to..

– she cut me off mid sentence-

JG Lady: Its 1 Adult to every student.

Me: Uhhhhh.. 4 teachers to 18 students, how can that be 1 Adult to every student?

JG Lady: Because the parent can accompany the child in class

Me: …… (OKAY THANKS, no shit sherlock. I would be more interested to know its how many students per teacher.). -_-“

Anyway, I still decided to go for the trial class since we were already there and im about to give birth to Mikhail next tuesday so i wont have time to do so after this week.

2pm to 2:30pm, just doing whatever

2pm to 2:30pm, just doing whatever

The class was supposed to start at 2pm. BUT, it didnt start till 2:30pm. Basically from 2pm till 2:30pm we were just sitting in the classroom, waiting for more students to arrive while the students and parents already present just sat around around doing whatever they wanted (chatting, toddlers playing with toys in the middle of the mat etc). Upon entering, someone takes your toddler’s temperature and checks his/her hands. The usual. Nobody checked the adults though. I just feel like since you are checking the kids, you might as well be extra cautious and also check the adults, right? (sigh, maybe its just my germophobic bitch talking) Then i noticed that the toddlers are required to wear socks in the classroom (the teacher claims its for hygiene reasons) BUT i saw half the accompanying adults in class without socks, i was one of them! Soooooo, i dont understand what kind of hygiene reasons do they have? The toddlers all put their palms all over the floor and then put it in their mouth and half of us adults (probably dirtier feet than our child could have) are walking everywhere without socks on. Hmmm…? Also, the floors were slippery with socks, which means dangerous for our little ones. I know that why? Because Charles slipped and fell twice while skipping to give me a hug (or maybe he is just really clumsy, who knows).

Charles and his Grandma

Charles and his Grandma

At 2:30pm, the teachers finally started the class by doing an ice breaker song singing out names and getting hugs from the students when their names were sung. After which the teachers proceeded to demonstrate 3 arts and craft projects to a class of toddlers 3 years and below. So basically, they expected toddlers aged 18 months to 3 years old to just sit there and watch them do the craft project (painting a paper plate with glue paint, dotting on paper and tapping sprinkles etc) for a good 20 mins. I dont find it engaging at all. Once they were done demonstrating the crafts, the class then separates into 3 smaller groups do to the 3 different craft projects that was just demonstrated. Once you were done with one station, you can switch to the next station to do a different craft project. Charles LOVES crafts but honestly, for such a prestigious school, cant you use better art materials? I think the dotting paint stains the skin so much that even after 3 washes, Charles still had stains on his arms and hands. I do craft projects with him all the time and the paint i use goes off in 1 wash. ONE. Come on Julia Gabriel, im sure you can do better than that. And at the craft station with the glue, Charles got the glue paint all over his hands and attempted to put it in his mouth. Obviously i stopped him and told him no and that it was dangerous to put glue into his mouth. The teacher at the table immediately said,

” Its not dangerous, its safe and non toxic, just some kind of vegetable fats. Its okay for them to put it in their mouth.”

REALLY? Why do i not agree with you. Vegetable fats or not, i really dont think its advisable to say (especially to or infront of young children) that GLUE is safe to put in their mouth. Is it just me or is this just really really wrong? I mean im all for letting them explore but there are certain things, like putting glue paint in your mouth, that i would caution them to stop because its dangerous. Am i alone on this?

making a mask with glue paint

making a mask with glue paint

the really stainy dotting paint

the really stainy dotting paint

After crafts were done, more song singing in mandarin and english which i think were great but nothing special since i know of plenty other classes (even his gym lessons with The Little Gym has lots of singing) for toddlers also do this. :/

Soon it was snack time and they served biscuits. No thanks.

I left the class once they announced snack time and i saw the biscuits.

So basically for $65 bucks, this is what you get. Do you think its worth it? I dont. I could do alot more with Charles with $65 in my house. My play and learn sessions, arts and craft sessions, activity box set ups and way way way more interesting, fun and engaging (and most probably less costly) than this trial class at Julia Gabriel.

My verdict? Julia Gabriel, totally over-rated.

So parents who cant afford to send your kids to Julia Gabriel and hear fellow parents rave about how they have sent (or will be sending) their little tots to a such a prestigious private preschool, dont even feel bad and think that your little one is missing out. They arent. I truly think our little tots could learn more playing outside at the playground or at home with us. Maybe Julia Gabriel used to be really good back when i was a toddler, but now, i think their standards have dropped (alot). Prestigious name doesnt always mean, prestigious school.

Thoughts, anyone?



12 thoughts on “Julia Gabriel Preschool, Totally Over-Rated

  1. Same thoughts. I thought it could all be condensed within an hour; but I guess they stretched to 2 hours to make the money seem more worth it. I wasn’t impressed at all actually. The only part that really engaged my boy was the drama part where the Chinese teachers acted out a sketch on a baby alligator finding its mother.

  2. Hi,
    I’m a mom of 2 kids (3 yrs & 1 yr) and I read your FB posts frequently. Being able to relate to some of your experiences have also convinced me that we have somewhat similar ideas for our kids.

    However, I felt that your recent post on Julia Gabriel’s “JG” is overly critical.
    1) I send both my kids to JG. In fact my younger child is still attending classes now.
    2) I do agree that the fees are slightly exorbitant but as a FTWM, my purpose was for my child to interact with other kids and follow a scheduled session. As my son is one who has an attn span of an ant, JG’s class’s have helped him improve his concentration since kids thrive on repetition.

    3) fully agree that the counter staff could do more with a pleasant attitude as I have been on the receiving end of rudeness from them. Trial class didn’t impress me at all too, but since I had sent my first born there before, I knew what to expect. However, having been to other similar play groups, I still decided on JG.
    4) We’ve had a couple of sessions involving glue ( Part of sensory play) and I think it’s pretty normal for kids to explore and put things in their mouth. Haven’t seen and I don’t think kids will be drinking out of the dish, but if that happens, the kids Shld be stopped. Plain and simple.. I think the facilitator was simply allaying your fears that the glue is harmless but I don’t think she was advocating that he eats the whole lot. Tasting tiny amt of glue really won’t harm your kid.

    5) JG serves a variety of snacks, all of which are purchased from Supernature organic supermarket just downstairs from their school. This is what the teachers shared and a couple of times I have also bought the same snacks for my kids after class. My son had rice crispies, biscuits, fruits etc. These are meant to also let them explore fine motor skills.

    6) All in, I dont believe that their classes are that overrated as per your article. Both my kids ( my daughter who’s extremely shy at 18 mths became more sociable in class) and my son has been able to participate in their activity with an improved attn span.

    7) JG is probably more suitable for working mums who would like to send their kids for some play time as we don’t have the luxury of play dates during the week days. Agree that these crafts could be replicated at home at a fraction of the cost.. So it boils down to a matter of time.

    Just my 2 cents worth! Btw I’m not related to them nor a staff.

    • Hi Victoria!

      Maybe i am being too harsh on them but i guess for a school of such calibre, i would expect better counter staff and also a better trial experience. Afterall, thats what the trial classes are for isnt it? ):

      • 哈哈哈 謝謝儂 俺心領了 只要末日沒到 來日方長 有機會過柔佛新山大街 不過得小心 地方治安問題 記得一定要叫他陪儂去 找看黃阿福街 Jalan Wong Ah Fook 看看有沒馬來人 現在可能是給印尼人 壟斷 了 補鞋匠 都是在走廊的無牌小販醬的小攤位 他們會把鞋底重修后再用粘著劑加鐵釘把鞋底釘好 俺心愛的皮鞋也就是醬陪俺 多 走了兩年的路 ^^Super Glue可用acetone來洗脫 普通的nail polish romveer都含有acetone 用小棉棒沾一些acetone塗抹在Super Glue上面就可以去除了 p/s 不要戴塑膠手套 純布料 不是化學類的布就ok 因為有些Super Glue的科學成份可以溶解塑膠手套和釋放無形有毒氣體 醬會造成更大的傷害 請記得 Super Glue本身就是純化學製成品 要儲藏好

  3. Wow, really? My pd actually recommended Julia Gabriel for my son who’s a little advance for his age. I’m glad I read this before spending the time and money on nothing…

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